Humans began in Botswana?

Brian G Turner

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A genetic study suggests that modern humans developed around a massive lake system that existed at the time, in what is now Botswana in Africa:

 

Brian G Turner

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What I find interesting, though, is the placing of human development around a system of huge lakes, as that lends further credence to the Aquatic Ape theory - that we originally developed around a watery environment.
 

Parson

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What I find interesting, though, is the placing of human development around a system of huge lakes, as that lends further credence to the Aquatic Ape theory - that we originally developed around a watery environment.
I think it's a pretty solid idea. Having an extra supply of protein and easy access to water would make life a little easier. But of course you'd have to have a way of dealing with the predators which find inland shorelines very good places to hunt. Sooo, just by logic, I would suggest that once humans had the use of fire and clubs this is where they would more likely be found. Before that I'm not so sure that they weren't like other savanna animals only going to water when necessary because of the danger.
 

Venusian Broon

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What I find interesting, though, is the placing of human development around a system of huge lakes, as that lends further credence to the Aquatic Ape theory - that we originally developed around a watery environment.
Well, this is an attempt to trace back to the 'birthplace' of mitchondrial eve at around about 200,000 years ago. Our ancestors were likely as hairless as we were a lot further back in time. From memory (of scientific work, not the that I am as old as Methuselah ;)) I think that if we were to go back a million years you might mistake the apes walking about as naked humans. (But likely they wouldn't be able to 'talk' to you, nor have your reasoning powers as our ancestors brains were still in development)

I agree with @Parson, bodies of fresh water will have easy to access food sources, potable water (which would be key for a species like ours who relied on perspiration to cool and long distance running to hunt) and one assumes that vegetation around the place would be lusher than a dry grass plain and therefore full of useful things. Possibly predators were less of an issue, (I say, thinking aloud!) , some would have been more focused on savannah herbivores so possibly never really seen (unless a big herd of things turned up), but we had things like fire and tools pretty much worked out by ~200,000 BCE I'm sure. Still have to deal with crocs, angry hippos and the prowling leopard I suppose.

It's clear we liked beaches and coastlines, although a great deal of the evidence is lost forever because of varying sealevel changes up and down over these vast time periods. But a great deal of evidence seems to suggest it was for the ease to gather protein and travel - remember that when we did get 'out of Africa' it's clear that the main highway was the coastline, something that has only really been broken since the advent of roads, good land transport and airplanes. I also wonder if the sea coastline might have had far fewer dangers like predators about?
 

Brian G Turner

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That's right. There have been some interesting observations over the years that potentially support it, such as why the skin on our fingers and toes wrinkles in water while the rest of the body doesn't - apparently, it's a built-in parasympathetic response, with the result that we would still be able to grip tools and other objects even with long exposure to water.
 
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